How to Tinker with Kids
Tinkering might not seem like an art form, but it is an excellent STEM activity that requires the same imagination and creativity of painting and sculpting. Below is a collection of field trips, books, and activitiy ideas to inspire the engineer in any child.
TINKER is a noun meaning : to make small changes in order to improve of repair it.
Many have large building materials area. The Mississippi Children's Museum near us has a crane and area for building walls and a child sized house. The Madison Children's Museum in Wisconsin has a wealth of building materials on the second floor. Check out the museum near you!
National Building Museum
This museum in Washington DC is devoted to all things building and is filled with opportunities for engineering skill building. Check out our full review here.
Buy some simple materials and tool and do some actual building. Some stores, such as Home Depot and Lowes, even have a building day once a month for kids. Check their events page for details.
Inspiring Books for Teachers & Parents:
Building Structures with Young Children by Ingrid Chalufour and Karen Worth
Rapunzel's Supermarket by Ursula Kolbe
Tinkering Books for Children:
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
From the bestselling creators of Iggy Peck, Architect comes the fabulous tale of Rosie Revere. What other people see as trash, Rosie sees as materials with possibility. She loves sharing inventions until an uncle laughs at her cheese hat. She hides her creations away after that until she learns of an aunt's dream to fly. Rosie becomes determined to make it happen. A wonderful story about persisting in the face of criticism, tinkering, and making dreams come true. 3+
Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen
Violet is a mechanical genius who loves building flying contraptions. The kids at school think she is odd, but Violet is determined to show everyone at the Air Show when she wins the blue ribbon. On the day of the big event disaster strikes keeping Violet from the show. How will she win respect now? Violet is an endearing character who will have you rooting for her from start to finish. 3+
If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen
Jack isn't satisfied with his dad's normal car. He has big plans to build the ultimate flying, swimming, driving vehicle. He draws some plans, builds a model, and gives his dad a tour to remember in this fantastical and imaginative tale. Sure to inspire the inventor inside. If I Built a House is a similar and equally entertaining book. 3+
Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams
A gentle story about a little boy in Africa determined to make a Galimoto out of wire. He searches all over his village making trades and searching for wire. Despite the doubts of others, the little boy stays focused on his goal to a delightful conclusion. A Reading Rainbow book. 4+
Papa's Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming
This story is loosely based on the true inventions of Lodner Phillips who invented one of the first submarines and tested it in Lake Michigan with his family. The story of Papa's Mechanical Fish is full of tinkering, problem solving, and perseverance in the best kind of way. The imaginative world of this creative man is brilliantly captured in the playful and fantastical illustrations by Boris Kulikov. A wonderful book for the child who loves to invent and tinker. 3+
TINKERING MATERIALS FOR KIDS
*How to Create a Tinkertray from Bambini Travel
*Love this Portable Tinkering Kit from Left Brain Craft Brain
*This is another great Tinkering Box or Engineering Kit from KCEdventures
*How to Encourage Children to Think Like an Inventor from The Educator's Spin On It
*5 Ways to Play with Magnatiles from Bambini Travel
*Make Your Own Tinker Box and Build Robots from EDventures with Kids
*5 Ways to Build Outside from Bambini Travel
*Travel Friendly Construction Sticks from Kids Playspace
*Creative Engineering with Marble Play from Natural Beach Living
*Simple Lesson Inspired by If I Built a Car from Bambini Travel
*Computer Deconstruction: Preschool Stem Play from Left Brain Craft Brain
*Construction Blocks and Tape Invitation from Learn With Play at Home
*Creating Fire Hydrants from Bambini Travel
*Great book inspired Tinkering Station on A Mom with a Lesson Plan
*Playdo Robots Complete with Metal Playdo Recipe from Left Brain Craft Brain
*3D Cereal Box City Construction Kit from Kids Playspace
*Tinkering for Kids from Mom with a Lesson Plan
*Building with Boxes from Learn with Play at Home
*Simple Nuts and Bolts Sensory Bin from Preschool Powol Packets
*Engineering Mystery Bag Challenge from Childhood 101
*Tips about Raising Engineers from The Educator's Spin On It
*What is Tinkering from Tinkerlab
Various. See the specific posts below.
*Visit our Bambini Art Project for more creative inspiration.
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